Danville certified as 'work-ready'

Gov. Ralph Northam made the announcement Friday

Danville is the fifth locality in the commonwealth to be certified as work-ready .

"In awarding this designation, American College Testing (ACT) is calling national attention to (Danville's) highly skilled population. To be work ready, (the) community had to come together in support of schools, credentialing, and modern hiring practices," Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research Friday.

Northam pointed out that that effort has helped major companies in the Dan River Region grow and become more effective and efficient.

"These companies have improved recruitment, reduced turnover, and increased employee engagement," Northam explained.

With this certification, the city is now better positioned to attract businesses.

"The work-ready community initiative provides a third-party, validated, data-driven system for economic development to talk about your workforce skills. That's a big plus when we're talking to businesses about relocation or expansion," Northam said.

Danville economic development director Telly Tucker said the work ready designation is the result of an ongoing regional effort to make southern Virginia's economy stronger.

"I believe our continued regional effort and investments in education and workforce will make us considerably more attractive for industry growth and new industry recruitment," Tucker said.

Danville Public Schools superintendent Stan Jones said the designation is an important part of making sure students not only graduate, but are able to go on to have high paying jobs in southern Virginia.

"First, this recognition indicates that our investments demonstrate a direct link between workforce development and education," Jones said.

"Secondly, this recognition serves as evidence that the economic development needs of the community are aligned with the educational program offerings and services."

"Third, and most important to me, this recognition is the result of the performance of individuals in our community who have demonstrated the appropriate competency and skill level to match them with viable career opportunities in the region," Jones said.

Northam said that with Danville joining Martinsville, and Henry, Pittsylvania and Halifax County as a certified work-ready community, community, southern Virginia has become a certified talent corridor.